Gareth Bale is a Real Madrid player. Some say los blancos paid 92M€ while the British media reports that the world-record transfer has been broken with Bale's move to the Spanish capital.
I'd like to personally thank Cartilage Free Captain and Kevin McCauley for their patience over this saga. This has been extenuating for both staffs and we'd like to wish them and the whole Tottenham Hotspurs team a good season. Kevin has answered to our questions even after seeing how our club signed their star player. That's class, and we can't state enough how thankful we are for this insight. Enjoy.
Question: Bale has grown up as a player in multiple positions. He was a left back first, then he moved to he offensive line but kept playing in the left wing, but he's been given more freedom with Villas-Boas. What's his position?
Answer: I think that his best position going forward is going to be as a right-sided attacking winger who cuts in on his left foot. I think it's possible that he grows into a center forward role and he'll always be useful as a left winger. I don't love him as a central attacking midfielder.
Q: Where do you think Bale should play?
A: In Real Madrid's team, I'd play Ronaldo on the left, Bale on the right, Özil in front of a double pivot. That would keep Isco on the bench for now, unless you want to go ridiculously attacking and put him in that pivot.
Q: I read an article in Cartilage Free Captain saying that Bale is not good when playing as a striker. You don't think there's any chance of seeing him play at Cristiano Ronaldo's side in that system with both of them having a lot of freedom?
A: I think it's certainly possible, but I think a 4-2-2-2 with Bale and Ronaldo as strikers sounds like a very odd setup.
Q: How is his attitude as a player? Does he work defensively?
A: When he's asked to, he works very hard defensively. When it's not in his role, he stays high. He seems like a very intelligent player who's willing to listen to whatever tactical instructions his manager gives him.
Q: He's obviously not worthy of that +90M€ price tag. But, has he reached his peak?
A: I'm not sure, though I wouldn't be surprised if Bale never duplicates his 26-goal season ever again. It was obvious that Ronaldo was world class when he moved to Madrid, but I don't think anyone thought he'd ever score anywhere near 60 goals in a season. I think it's very difficult to predict Bale's trajectory.
Q: What's the best-case scenario for him in Real Madrid?
A: His best case scenario is that he becomes nearly as good as Ronaldo and has a couple of incredible 50-goal seasons, but I wouldn't bank on it. Most likely, he's going to be a very good player who gives you something like 20 goals and 15 assists per year in all competitions. He probably won't live up to his price tag, but he'll be a slightly better version of Angel Di Maria.